Investing in workplace wellness initiatives within your organization has positive effects on both your employees’ health, along with your company’s. Initiatives that promote healthy lifestyles and behaviors during and after office hours will enable your people to be more productive and perform at higher levels.

From organizations offering gym memberships, to food onsite, or allowing employees to work remotely. Different methods are being explored to allow employees to not only be creative, but increase productivity and boost employee engagement

Here are 3 statistics to highlight the importance of implanting workplace and wellness initiatives:

61% of employees are burned out on the job.

61% of employees agree that they’ve made healthier lifestyle choices because of their company’s wellness program.

Organizations with highly effective health and productivity programs report 11% higher revenue per employee, 1.8 fewer days absent per employee per year and 28% greater shareholder returns.

The emphasis on creating a healthy workplace that promotes overall productivity and engagement cannot be stressed enough, especially in a competitive environment where employees have choices to work for any organization. Organizations have to now find ways to retain top level talent and reverse engineer their needs and wants so they can put them in the best position to succeed––which will ultimately create win-win opportunities for both the employee and employer.

I interviewed Mr. Tom Cummins, CEO of American Power and Gas which currently generates over $500 million in revenue and has over 1000 employees. We had a chance to discuss wellness initiatives and actions his company is taking to create a thriving and productive workforce.

Tom, with scaling an organization to $500 million – how important has it been to ensure your employees well-being?

Well, that depends. As a business owner, do you want to feel as if you built your company “on the backs of your employees”? Or do you want to feel as if you built a dynamic team that helped drive the company to lofty levels of success?

What are 3-5 ways you ensure your employees are healthy and productive? Do you have initiatives or programs set in place?

Look, I’m their employer, not their father. I can’t tell my employees what to do to maintain their heath. However, with that said, I can set a good example for them and I can offer them advice. For example, we operate in Florida and during our summers the weather turns hot and muggy due to the high humidity levels we often experience.

This type of weather drains the body of its basic elements, like salt and potassium and causes health issues, like muscle cramping and headaches. I have huge jars of sea salt and potassium tablets and when I take them, others see me do so and ask why. In response, I educate those interested on the positive effects they can create on the body and then offer these minerals for them to try. 

Some try them and see that they work, and some also find that the minerals handled their discomforts to the point that they didn’t have to take any drugs to subside their pains. As a result, these individuals become healthier by learning something about their bodies. 

What I have explained works because you can’t “order” people to take anything––it can only be done by free will.

Another way we help our employees lead healthier lifestyles is by being a drug-free company––period! It’s not just a slogan––we mean it and we enforce it. I have seen people turn their lives around and become healthier and more productive by freeing themselves of the harmful effects of drugs. It’s a real joy to see these individuals reach the other side of drug use, being clean and emanating a healthy glow. I also love seeing their income increase as a result of their increased productivity with the use of harmful drugs no longer slowing them down.

How does your organization create a work environment to not only let people thrive but be open when there is a problem?

That is simple. If someone is not thriving, that is a problem that we handle right away. There is NO reason why a person cannot produce more than he or she currently is, and there is no reason why a person can’t control his or her assigned area of the company and make it produce at a higher level than it has been attaining. As a group, all of us agree that when an area has reached a level of greatness we know how to make sure it never declines. In fact, we know how to ensure all of our employees’ areas continue to improve from there on out, even if only a little bit.

This is the company’s viewpoint as a whole. Anytime we’re not achieving this, it is a problem that we address immediately.

It comes down to this: if the job isn’t getting done, only two things can be happening; the person doesn’t want to do the job, or the person doesn’t know how to do the job. There is no in-between. We know how to handle both types of people, and we work quickly to do so when we find them.

With you managing a large organization Tom, how important has health and wellness been for you and what are some things you do to ensure you stay mentally and physically healthy?

I have about 1,000 individuals on 3 different continents helping forward the activities of our companies. I must stay fit to be able to cope with the demands of the day. I just flew to Germany and flew back two days later. Do you know what that does to a body, especially one that is 60 years old? If you don’t maintain the health of your body through exercise, eating quality food, taking supplements, drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, stretching, etc., it will wear out and then what are you going to do?

The same thing goes for mentality, which actually means spiritually. What do you do if life becomes extremely strenuous for an extended period of time and you­­––as a spiritual being––are just plain exhausted? This does happen and it has happened to me a number of times. One can become so worn out and defeated that you just want to run away from home, so to speak. Personally, I am a Scientologist and for 35 years I have used Scientology to get rid of the unpleasantness that life can bring and make cling to you. It has helped immeasurably in stopping me from aging mentally and it has also helped put me in control of the decision people tend to make that it is time to start “winding down”.

I am still as active as I was 25 years ago, production wise. In fact, I’m more active today at my current age because I’m much wiser and more efficient than before. The use and practice of Scientology has been very key in making this happen.

There have been conversations around workplaces implementing working remotely and unlimited travel vacations––what are your thoughts on some of these organizational trends and do you see value in them?

I have not seen a huge trend in workplaces implementing working remotely and unlimited travel vacations. I’ve experienced some employees from our IT Department request to work remotely due to a wish for change of lifestyle. Just last week, a key IT programmer of mine submitted a request to work remotely so that he can live in a ski community, which is something you won’t find in Florida.